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Film on Friday, TV

Why Marvel’s Luke Cage Matters

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Luke Cage. 

Marvel’s Luke Cage.

Just…wow!

This is best thing Netflix has put out. It is the best thing Marvel has put out. Surpassing even Captain America: Civil War.

To me, it’s the best property in the Marvel Cinematic Universe because of it’s relevance and themes. As a Black man and a geek, the show is the perfect storm.

Prominent Black Actors

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I will not focus on the actual actors, but in the fact of the predominantly black cast. This is not just a Tyler Perry production or a BET comedy. Luke Cage is a Netflix show set in Marvel’s billion dollar franchise. This is a BIG DEAL. This show is mainstream and despite being set in Harlem. Black actors portray politicians, police, club owners, and upstanding pillars of the community. 

The good guys and bad guys are multi-faceted and complex. This is important as this is character development rarely given to Black roles on TV. Characters such as Luke Cage and Pops are empowering. These are men who seek the betterment of themselves and the community.

Social Commentary

As of this writing, America is going through racial and social upheaval. This show is the perfect vehicle to discuss it as the media chooses to show every instance of racially motivated police shootings and inner city crime, Marvel chose to produce a show whose hero is bulletproof Black man. 

What makes this even better is that this show is set in the MCU. Thus, this show lives in a world where Captain America is on the run, the Guardians of the Galaxy are flying around, Thanos is preparing for the Infinity War. Everyone knows about the Avengers, but to the black community in Harlem, their biggest fear is gun violence and police brutality. In a world of heroes and villains, this amount of realism is refreshing.

This show also discuss Black on Black crime, getting the youth to understand history, and the negativity of the word “nigga” being used among Blacks. Powerful and wrapped in Marvel series.

Blaxploitation and Proud 

This show is The Wire meets Captain America. Yet, for the most part it pays loving homage to the 70s blaxpoitation era. It wears it openly and lovingly with music, some cheesy dialogue, camera shots, edits. Since the character was introduced in the 70s as a response to the blaxploitation films of the time, this show portrays those elements, but never does this show give less than reverence to it’s characters.

The only thing that could have made this better was a reference to Black Panther, War Machine, or Black Panther. 

As Method Man, playing himself, says to Harlem and in extension, the Black community. 

“There’s just something powerful about seeing a strong, heroic, black man who’s bulletproof and unafraid…We finally got a hero for hire, and he’s a black one.”

 

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